Aussies 'cruelly hurt' in hockey loss to NZ

REASON TO SMILE: The Black Sticks celebrate the winning goal against Australia.
REASON TO SMILE: The Black Sticks celebrate the winning goal against Australia.

Legendary Australian hockey coach Ric Charlesworth has hit out at the umpiring at the Olympics, believing the Hockeyroos were hard done by in their 1-0 loss to the Black Sticks women.

Charlesworth coaches the Australian men's team these days after a stunning stint with the women's team that brought them gold at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. He had a spell as High Performance Manager with New Zealand's cricket team between the jobs but reserves a deep love for the women's game.

He was asked his views of the women's Olympic opener between the trans-Tasman rivals and didn't hold back.

"Hopefully we won't get major mess ups, but of course our women's team were cruelly hurt by the decisions (on Sunday) and I think they got it wrong," Charlesworth said.

"It hurt the girls and of course, it's really important in these tournaments.

"Hopefully we avoid major mess ups, (but) I've seen in big games things that make a difference.

"The umpires also have the capacity with the big decisions to refer it themselves and I hope they use that."

Australia's Emily Smith was denied a penalty corner when she went down in the circle, with the video referral ruling there was insufficient contact from the New Zealand defenders to force a penalty corner.

Smith was also controversially denied a goalscoring opportunity with Kiwi goalkeeper Bianca Russell, ruling she wasn't infringed.

The Hockeyroos, now coached by Adam Commens, now face an uphill battle to finish in the top two of the powerful group and advance to the semifinals. It's advantage New Zealand on that front.

Meanwhile, Charlesworth's men's side beat South Africa 6-0 in their opening match.

Fairfax Media